DOJ: 88,500 Inmates Sexually Victimized In 2008 And 2009

An estimated 88,500 inmates reported one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another inmate or facility staff during 2008 and 2009, according to a new study by the Justice Department.

That statistic is based on a survey of 81,500 from a sample of 463 facilities between October 2008 and December 2009. Inmates were asked about incidents that occurred in the 12 months before they were surveyed.Female prisoners were more than twice as likely as male prisoners to report experiencing sexual victimization by another prisoner, according to the report.

More white or multi-racial inmates reported more sexual victimization in prisons and jails compared with African-American inmates, as did those with a college degree compared to those who had not completed high school.

Gay and bisexual inmates were more likely than heterosexual inmates to report sexual victimization, as were those who experienced sexual victimization before they were incarcerated.

The report by DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics in the Office of Justice Programs comes on the heels of a push by a coalition of organizations on the political right and left to urge Attorney General Eric Holder to issue standards to prevent sexual victimization. Holder expressed regret that the Department of Justice missed a June 23 deadline to issue those new rules for prisons and jails.

The report was issued to meet the requirements of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, which also mandated that Holder issue those new rules.

The Justice Department is “working diligently” to implement the standards as soon as possible, and expects to send the proposed rule to Office of Management and Budget in the fall, Hannah August, a DOJ spokeswoman, told TPMMuckraker in a statement. She said the Justice Department wants to be a “force multiplier” and enable the best practices in preventing sexual victimization to gain recognition. They also want to ensure that standards are successful after they are put into place, she said.

“We want to get this done, but we want to get it done right,” August said. “It is unacceptable for anyone in the care of our country’s correctional facilities to be sexually assaulted, and we are working diligently towards eliminating such abuse.”

The full report is embedded below.


(Editor’s note: this article has been updated)